Handheld Meals for Families On the Go

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

It is that time of the year when we aren’t quite ready for summer, although in Alabama it could go either way, and we are tired of the cold. Spring forward into March with some new and exciting beef recipes. Beef is an excellent source of protein and iron and is a versatile staple that can create a wide variety of recipes to satisfy any time of the year. With spring activities beginning, quick and easy recipes are the go-to for a lot of families. If you’re burned out on the same old things, give these tasty ideas a try!

 

Will Travel for Beef

Travel sports parents everywhere know that one of the keys to not losing your mind (or spending all your money) is to be prepared for the weekend’s upcoming events. A tried-and-true staple for our family is all beef hotdogs that we cook ahead and put in a thermos to keep warm. Add buns and condiments and the whole family can eat without breaking the bank. Make up a container of  Roast Beef and Veggie Wraps to add to your cooler and you will have a super satisfying  on-the-go meal. For those cooler times, make some meatballs with sauce such as these Four Way Mini-Meatballs and keep warm in an insulated container, grab some sweet rolls and have mini-meatball sliders to fill you up. Don’t forget about all the delicious flavors of beef jerky and beef sticks that you can always keep handy to grab at any time.

 

Late Night Dinners

Homework, sports, jobs…how do you keep your family fed without running through the drive-thru every night?  Plan ahead for the week by cooking up large batches of easy, reheatable foods such as a roast to make roast beef sliders, tacos, or quesadillas. Cook a large batch of ground beef that can be quickly seasoned for spaghetti or sloppy joes. Take advantage of your slow cooker and have these Tangy BBQ Sandwiches ready when you get home.

 

It is a busy time of the year! Take advantage of beef’s versatility, portability, and great protein to keep your family going. For more great recipes and information on beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What For Dinner.

 

Happy Spring from all of us at Alabama Cattlemen’s Association!

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

A Lean New Year

By Elesha Ergle, RDN
Welcome to 2020, the year of hindsight! As we start this fabulous new year, set your sights on some new and creative ideas to add to your lunch boxes and dinner plans. If your previous years’ recipes are starting to lose their luster, let beef help you come up with some exciting and healthy ideas that will keep you going all year long.

 

Beef’s Nutrition
Beef is a healthy option! Here are the fast facts: a 3-ounce portion of lean beef (about the size of a deck of cards) contains less than 10 grams of fat and about 170 calories with about 25 grams of protein! If you are curious about all the lean cuts that beef has to offer, Beef It’s What’s for Dinner has you covered.<

 

BOLD Beef
In 2012, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the study Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD), which promoted four different diets, each integrating beef in varying amounts. At the end of the study, the participants that received larger amounts of lean beef were found to have lower cholesterol levels than those of diets with lower amounts of lean beef. The study provides “support for including lean beef in a heart-healthy dietary pattern.”

 

Fast Foods
While there are many beef recipes that require a lot of your time to prepare, Electric Pressure Cookers (EPC)— such as an Instant Pot— can cut your cooking times more than half. If you love a good roast with potatoes and carrots, try using a lean rump roast in your EPC for your next meal. This recipe uses only 3-4 ingredients and is ready in under 2 hours! (Tip: add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar OR substitute 1-cup water with 1-cup cola to the recipe to further increase tenderness.)

 

Snacking with Beef
If you have resolved to add more exercise in to your new year, try some beef snacks for the trip to the gym or post-workout routine. Beef It’s What’s for Dinner has a great Beef Trail Mix, and this recipe for beefy sweet and savory trail mix can be the answer to your afternoon snacking routine. If you are looking for a great home workout, try the Farm To Gym workout at the link below.

 

No matter what your resolutions, resolve to eat more healthy, lean beef! Set your sights on some of these new ideas or visit Beef It’s What’s for Dinner for more information and recipes. Let your hindsight be 2020 as the best year ever!

 

Happy New Year from all of us at the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

 

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Back to School with Beef Jerky

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

 

The summer heat continues to bear down, and it seems impossible that it is time for the kids to go back to school already.  Whether your baby is just starting kindergarten this year, or your “baby” is starting high school, there is no doubt you have given some thought about how to help your kids power through the day.

 

Children need proper nutrition to keep their growing bodies fueled for learning throughout the school day. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast are able to pay attention better in classes, perform better on tests and have less behavior issues.  If you are confused about how to get your family going this school year, beef is here to help.

 

Beef Jerky at Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! If your kiddos are scrambling to get out the door in the mornings, whip up some Beef Jerky Trail Mix for a healthy meal on the go. Mix it with different dried fruits (no added sugars are best) and nuts, or let the kids make their own mixture to inspire their imagination and get them involved in the kitchen. Loaded with 25 grams of protein per serving, trail mix a great way to get your kids’ school day started off right. It even packs easy into a lunch box for snack time.

 

After School Treats
Beef Jerky Granola Bars are another great option for on-the-go breakfasts or snacking. Kids who are active in sports and other after-school activities will also love to keep these treats in their packs for busy afternoons. For a delicious snack after they hop off the bus, have some Peanut Butter Chocolate-Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Beef Jerky Cookies to keep the kids powered through homework until suppertime. These beef’d up cookies are sure to be a hit, and you can feel good knowing they have had a nutritious snack packed with protein.

 

Individually-wrapped beef jerky sticks come in all sizes and flavors and are delicious and handy for those days when you just thought the calendar looked light. You can find these in large quantities online for reasonable prices and have them delivered to your door, saving you time and money. Keep them packed away in the car, backpacks, and athletic bags for a quick and nutritious snack that will keep your scholars and athletes full and focused.

 

Everyone’s lives are busy, but we can still pack in healthy foods to fuel our active agendas. One serving of lean beef provides 50 percent of our daily protein needs, so while you are busy chasing kids, you can put your mind at ease knowing that their snacks are one less thing to worry about. Visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com to explore all kinds of unique beef jerky and back to school recipe ideas for this busy time of year!

 

 

State Checkoff color_nobackgroundThis article was funded by the Alabama Beef Checkoff Progam. Paid for by Alabama beef farmers and ranchers.

Burger Mania for the End of Summer!

By Elesha Ergle, RDN

 

Hamburgers. 

That one word can get your mouth drooling! From diner smash burgers to gourmet cheeseburgers, burger lovers desire the best of the best.  Cooking the perfect burger at home can be intimidating with so many different methods, but you can find one that suits your taste. Check out this great video from Epicurious that gives different cooking methods and the science behind cooking a great burger. Start perfecting your own recipes or try out some of these great ideas!

 

 

Burgers for Breakfast   

Burger lovers will flock to the idea of having a tasty burger at breakfast.  If you cook hamburgers and have leftovers, try making yourself a burger for breakfast!  Reheat a burger (165 degrees), top with some bacon, fried egg, or cheese on a bun or roll, and you’ve got yourself a high protein breakfast that is quick, delicious and packed with protein!  If you would rather have a recipe, try this Bistro Breakfast Burger.

 

 

Smash burgers

The delicious diner favorite. Ground beef is rolled into a ball, placed on a hot griddle or skillet, smashed thin, and served 1-3 patties thick, usually slathered with cheese and all kinds of delicious toppings. Use a cast iron skillet and make some of these delicious burgers at home. This recipe for smash burgers gives step-by-step instructions if you are a first timer.  Warning: after having these you may never want to cook a burger any other way!

 

 

Grill Masters Unite

If the thoughts of frying a burger in a skillet annoys you, don’t hesitate to craft a delicious, juicy burger on your grill. Whether you’re using charcoal or gas, be sure that you know the safety instructions for both methods, or refer to this video for some great tips. When you are ready to grill, try out this recipe for Classic Beef Cheeseburgers. For those of you who have mastered the art of grilling and are looking for a great new burger recipe, try these Gourmet Grilling Burgers.

 

 

Low-Carb and Gluten-Free

With many people focusing on low carb or gluten free diets, there are ways to enjoy a good burger while sticking to diet restrictions. Try having your favorite burger wrapped with all your favorite toppings inside whole leaf lettuce. You can have all the deliciousness of the burger sans the bun.  This spicy Western Burger is cool with avocado and wrapped in crispy leaf lettuce for a fresh, delicious, summer-worthy burger.

 

Whether you love them grilled, fried, leftover for breakfast…or any way that you can get them…burgers are a great way to pack in beef’s excellent protein in a delicious, affordable way. While burgers may seem like they aren’t the healthiest choice for your dinner plate, there are many methods of cooking and leaner choices available in ground meat to provide numerous options, and don’t forget to top it with fresh veggies such as lettuce, tomato and even avocado for an added boost of nutrition to complement all that delicious protein. For more recipes, cooking methods and to learn more about beef from pasture to plate, visit Beef It’s What’s For Dinner.

 

Stay cool, and go eat some burgers, ya’ll!

Choose Nutrient-Rich Beef for Your Holiday Entertaining

By Jessica Ivey, RDN

 

During the holidays, we all want to enjoy family, friends and food, but all the get-togethers and events can make it easy to get off track with healthy eating goals. Lucky for you, beef is a nutrient-rich protein source that can be incorporated into appetizers, entrees and even side dishes for festive and nutritious entertaining.

 

Beef tops the charts of protein-rich foods, providing 25 grams of high-quality protein and just 150 calories in each 3oz. cooked serving of lean beef. To put that into perspective, you’d have to eat three cups of trendy quinoa to get that much protein, which would pack a whopping 666 calories! Research shows that people who eat a higher-protein diet (about 30% of daily calories from protein) feel more satisfied, which may help prevent overeating (1), so if you’re making an effort to maintain your weight this holiday season, lean beef is a smart choice!

 

In addition to protein, three ounces of cooked beef provides 36% of the daily value of zinc, which helps maintain a strong immune system to keep you from getting sick during the busy holiday season. Feeling exhausted? Each 3oz. serving of lean beef provides 22% and 44% of the daily value of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 respectively, two nutrients that help give you energy. Beef is also a good source of iron, which helps transport oxygen in your blood.

 

If you’ll be attending or hosting a gathering with mostly appetizers and finger foods, be sure to include a source of protein to help satisfy hunger. These Mini Meatball Appetizers with Apricot Dipping Sauce can be made ahead and kept warm in a small slow cooker for an easy-to-transport option, or you can make these Spicy Steak and Avocado Bruschetta for a filling and flavorful twist on traditional bruschetta. For a foodie crowd, these Tapas-Style Pepper-Steak Parfaits are sure to impress.

 

We usually think of beef as being the star at the center of the plate, but have you ever thought about including beef in a side dish? This savory, sweet and tart Beef Stuffing with Apples and Cranberries is equally suited as a one-dish meal or a show-stealing side. Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms deliver a punch of flavor in each poppable bite.

 

An elegant beef roast sets the stage for a special meal, no matter the occasion. Check back in December, when I’ll be sharing some fool-proof tips for the perfect holiday roast. Enjoy a happy and healthy start to your holiday season!

 

 

  1. Leidy HJ, et al. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. Am J Clin Nutr 2013;97:677-88.
  • Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Luscombe-Marsh N, Lejeune MPGM, Diepvens K, Nieuwenhuizen A, Engelen MPKJ, Deutz NEP, Azzout-Marniche D, Tome D, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein, metabolism, and body-weight regulation: dose–response effects. Int J Obes 2006;30:S16-S23.
  • Leidy HJ, Bossingham MJ, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Increased dietary protein intake consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. Br J Nutr. 2009;101:798-803.

 

(Photo: Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Funded by Beef Farmers & Ranchers.)